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Fritz Leiber: Selected Stories
 
 

Fritz Leiber: Selected Stories [Kindle Edition]

Fritz Leiber
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product Description

Product Description

Fritz Leiber's work bridges the gap between the pulp era of H. P. Lovecraft and the paperback era of P. K. Dick, and arguably is as influential as both these authors. From a historical context, Leiber, in fact, knew both of the authors, and his work can be seen as a bridge connecting the many different flavors of genres of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Edited by award-winning editors Jonathan Strahan and Charles Brown, this new collection of the grand master's fiction covers all facets of his work, and features an Introduction by Neil Gaiman and an Afterword by Michael Chabon.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 706 KB
  • Print Length: 372 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1597801801
  • Publisher: Start Publishing LLC (23 Sep 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0070YQQES
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #194,624 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A eclectic collection 31 Mar 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
Smoke ghost

An office worker sees something watching him from a roof on his commute home.It starts to close in on him...

The girl with the hungry eyes

A photographer meets the perfect model, who shuns any male attention.However her attractiveness has a dark side....

Coming attraction

In a New York nuked by the Russians, women wear masks and fight men in wrestling matches. One such bewitches a British trade official..

A pail of air

On an frozen Earth dragged out of its orbit by a wandering star, a boy is asked to go collect some more air...A truly great story.

A deskful of girls

A sleazy psychiatrist/medium gets his come-uppance. Overlong.

Space-time for springers

Cutesy animal story. Not my cup of tea.

Ill met at Lankhmar

Classic fantasy of derring do and revenge against an evil magician, from the wise-cracking pair of iconic adventurers, Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser.

Four ghosts in Hamlet

Rather involved tale of a company of wandering players haunted by the Bard himself...

Gonna roll the bones

A man down on his luck, but a wonder at playing dice, gets to challenge a very strange opponent. Feels rather contrived, has not aged well.

The inner circles

A writer struggles with his muses who haunt him at home.

America the beautiful

Acerbic, ironic story of a young genius who wants to challenge a powerful, seemingly pleasant, outwardly calm America but instead settles for sex.
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Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Catch this book! 22 April 2010
By Art Henderson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
None of the earliest reviews of this book are about "Fritz Leiber: Selected Stories". Two are apparently of the 1970's "Best of Fritz Leiber". The third claims to be a review of "Selected Stories", but the contents are wrong. The contents of this book are:

Smoke Ghost
The Girl with the Hungry Eyes
Coming Attraction
A Pail of Air
A Deskful of Girls
Space Time for Springers
Ill Met in Lankhmar
Four Ghosts in Hamlet
Gonna Roll the Bones
The Inner Circles (aka The Winter Flies)
America the Beautiful
Bazaar of the Bizarre
Midnight by the Morphy Watch
Belsen Express
Catch That Zeppelin!
Horrible Imaginings
The Curse of the Smalls and the Stars

These are all good stories and well representative of Leiber's short fiction output. I've read and enjoyed at least 13 of the 17 stories included. They range from SF to fantasy to horror and virtually all are among the best the field has to offer. Night Shade is a relatively small press and there were probably not a lot of copies printed. Get this book while you can.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Caveat emptor and serendipity in two books under one listing 17 Aug 2010
By Jack Of Alltrades - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
There are two anthologies listed under this one title. As is usual, when mining SF's golden age with amazon, confusion rains (sic) so buyer beware.

One book is the book available new here new and the other (available used here) is an anthology from the 1970's with the stories listed in an earlier review. The good news is you can buy both and only have three stories overlap.

And yes, this dude can write---and how. What a genius. The tone is dark, and considering the evolution of reality in the intervening half century since they were written it seems he was prescient. If you love cats you'll enjoy Space-Time for Springers. Leiber was a genius who knew how to please his readers---an uncommon thing today.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Introduction to a Fading Legend 4 Sep 2010
By Randy Stafford - Published on Amazon.com
It's the centennial of Fritz Leiber's birth. Unfortunately, Leiber, winner of numerous awards, writer of many styles, adept in horror, fantasy, and science fiction, is something of a forgotten author. Or, more accurately, remembered for little more than a sword-and-sorcery series.

There are no stories from that series about Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser here unlike the recent Night Shade Books Selected Stories by Fritz Leiber. That collection, though, is a retrospective of Leiber's entire career. This book collects Leiber's favorite stories from about two-thirds of the way into a career that covered more than 50 years. Still, the collections share six stories.

Writer's favorites are not always reader favorites. I personally wasn't excited by "The Night He Cried", an attack on what Leiber feared would be Mickey Spillane's pernicious influence on fantasy. "Little Old Miss Macbeth", sort of a science fantasy in a post-apocalypse America, didn't strike me as more than an exercise in mood.

"Gonna Roll the Bones" is science fantasy too but successfully blends dicing against the Devil in a spaceport with marital discord. "The Man Who Never Grew Young" follows the life of an immortal of our time in a universe where time now runs backward, Egyptian monuments devolving back to quarried stone, nomads leaving the Nile for the desert.

Other works are successful retoolings of mainstream stories. "The Ship Sails at Midnight" outlines the effect of a woman who becomes a muse, crutch, and inspiration to a group of men. The sexual and psychological rewards and pitfalls of the situation are well depicted. "The Foxholes of Mars" deals metaphorically with Hitler and World War One.

Political satire and suspicion of centralized technocracies is a theme in a surprising number of stories. "Sanity" and "The Enchanted Forest" all take a dim view of trying to build "normal" societies with no room for the eccentric and aberrant. "Poor Superman" is not only an attack on the grandiose promises of Scientology and Dianetics but the totalitarian faiths of the 20th century.

"Coming Attraction" and "America the Beautiful" are both stories of Brits coming to America and learning, through relations with women, of hidden sexual fetishes and social neuroses. In the first story, it's a post-nuclear war America with a mania for masked women and female wrestling. In the second, a story from 1970, America's relentless quest for perfection and a clean environment has fetishized catastrophe.

Sheer pageantry is on hand with "The Big Trek", where a man joins a bizarre calvacade of aliens leaving man to his nuked out Earth and going to the stars, and "The Big Holiday", about an American holiday of the future. Disaster on a grand scale is here in "A Pail of Air" where a wandering comet has knocked Earth out of its orbit and the atmosphere has condensed into vast drifts of frozen gas.

"Rump-Titty-Titty-Tum-Tah-Tee" is about the ultimate earwig, a rhythm which threatens to so compulsively grip the human mind as to destroy human civilization. It struck me as a very Alfred Bester type story. So did "The Good New Days" to a lesser degree. It's a satire on Beatniks and set in a polluted, over automated society where having a job is the ultimate status symbol. "Mariana" treads some of the same solipsistic ground that Philip K. Dick's Time Out of Joint does from almost the same time.

"The Man Who Made Friends with Electricity" has been an influential story with many writers taking up the notion of intelligences haunting the technological infrastructures of man. The original is still charming.

Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser may be missing but there are stories from two other Leiber series. "Space-Time for Springers" is the first installment about hyper-intelligent super-kitten Gummitch. There are two Change War stories. "Try and Change the Past" shows, with a man's attempt to avoid being fatally shot by his wife, to what lengths the universe will go to preserve historical reality. "A Deskful of Girls" is kind of tangential to the series, a high tech vampirism used to steal, in a ghostly, faintly sentient, ectoplasmic form, the sexual charisma of would-be starlets and "sex goddesses". A tale that's both erotic and social criticism.

Leiber contributes notes to all his stories, and Poul Anderson's introduction reveals Leiber the man and artist.

Leiber's sheer versatility means that large numbers of stories may not be the reader's thing, but this is definitely a place to start in appreciating a fading legend.
5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unique mix of pseudo-science and real science 20 April 2010
By 2theD - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This review is for The Best of Fritz Leiber (1974), published by Sphere Books with a length of 368 pages. The book is cross-listed with other Leiber collections, so the collections' content MAY differ. Sorry for any confusion... onward!

Having read Leiber's quirky Gather, Darkness, I realized that this previously unknown author had much prospective talent. He masterfully combined speculative fiction and magic, something which I find utterly unappealing to read about. Even in his short stories, Leiber includes pseudo-sciences like hypnotism with his grab bag full of basic science- all leads to a relatively decent collection of stories from a single author. A hearty helping of 4-star stories rises the rating of the entire collection to 4-stars with just a single story claiming the 5-star position. Unique would be the preferred word when describing this collection.

1944: Sanity - 4/5 - Are the people going crazy or just the World Government? 19 pages

1945: Wanted-An Enemy - 4/5 - Beckon the Martians to start Earth war to end war. 15 pages

1947: The Man Who Never Grew Young - 4/5 - Coffin to womb, review history in reverse with sympathetic eyes. 11 pages

1950: The Ship Sails at Midnight - 5/5 - Magnetically attractive alien/lady inspires a group of university students. 26 pages

1950: The Enchanted Forest - 3/5 - Thick thorny forested planet reveals an oddly repetitive bucolic life. 23 pages

1950: Coming Attraction - 4/5 - Fashionably Arabesque masked American women mimic nuclear-age masked wrestlers. 16 pages

1951: Poor Superman - 3/5 - The Thinkers are tools for the so-called supercomputer named Maizie. 32 pages

1951: A Pail of Air - 4/5 - Family ekes out living on frozen earth orbiting dark star. 17 pages

1952: The Foxholes of Mars - 3/5 - Pacifist soldier on Mars leads to pacifist rank, activist citizen. 11 pages

1952: The Big Holiday - 2/5 - The entire town celebrates the anti-holiday American holiday in style. 10 pages

1953: The Night He Cried - 3/5 - Galactic Centre heptapus-turn-female attempts conversion of misogynistic man. 9 pages

1957: The Big Trek - 3/5 - Multitudes of intelligent aliens walk towards way to the stars. 6 pages

1958: Space-Time for Springers - 2/5 - Mute, intelligent cat wishes to become a coffee drinking man. 14 pages

1958: Try and Change the Past - 4/5 - In a universe of temporal reluctance, hot to kill yourself? 9 pages

1958: A Desk Full of Girls - 3/5 - `I have never seen any ghosts except the sexy kind.' 34 pages

1958: Rump-Titty-Titty-Tum-Tah-Tee - 4/5 -Menagerie of intellectuals create the `ultimate symbol,' change the world. 20 pages

1958: Little Old Miss Macbeth - 4/5 - Old lady transverses desolate city with a candle in hand. 6 pages

1960: Mariana - 4/5 - Six switches- first reads `Trees' - turn it off, trees disappear. 6 pages

1962: The Man Who Made Friends with Electricity - 3/5 - Seemingly patriotic electricity talks to man via high tension cables. 11 pages

1965: The Good News Days - 3/5 - Street smiling was one job - wasn't skilled enough for nine. 17 pages

1967: Gonna Roll the Bones - 4/5 - Miner throw's craps with high rollers, takes on Big Gambler. 26 pages

1970: America the Beautiful - 3/5 - English professor visits the ideal futuristic America, fights writer's block. 15 pages
3.0 out of 5 stars Hit and Miss, but a representative selection of work 24 Jun 2014
By John Middleton - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I loved some of this book, and skimmed some of it out of duty, but there is no doubt it is a fair reflection of the range of Fritz Lieber's work and personality. All his big loves, themes, issues and characters are here: Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, the Changewar, theatre, cats, San Francisco, moderately kinky sex, and Germany. Most stories are some blend of horror, fantasy, sci-fi or just plain weird: strangely, I found I tended to like the earlier tales over the later ones. Of those I loved, Ill Met in Lankhmar is classic, Smoke Ghost is chilling, the Girl with the Hungry Eyes is a modern vampire tale, and Four Ghosts is touching.

I'd read some of this before, 20 plus years ago, and hoped I might like it more now that I am apparently more grown up.

Apparently not.

The Curse of Smalls and Stars failed to really grab me when I first read it, and its still - well, OK, I guess. Somehow, Fafhrd and the Mouser are boring now. The comparison to Ill Met in Lankhmar is telling.

If you like some of Lieber's work, you should read this - you will probably find more that you like, and possibly some stuff you don’t. It’s a fantastic collection without being a collection of fantastic stories, if that makes sense. Its part of the foundations of modern genre writing, and its important in that sense even if I cant say reading it was an unalloyed joy.
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